Rukku makes Sneha a boy cut girl
Chandrakala’s story – 1
It was late 80s. I joined REC, Trichy for B.Tech. (Electronics). My two roommates in the hostel were naughty Rukmini from Madurai and go-getter Sneha from a rich business family in Mumbai, while the reserved I, Chandrakala (called as Chandri by near ones) was from Bangalore. While I and Sneha were in Electronics, Rukmini was in Mechanical. The domineering, yet no-nonsense and go-getter approach of Sneha somehow made the two of us to both love and respect her. In two weeks, we three became very close friends.
While I and Rukmini had bum long dense hair, Sneha had an ear-level bob cut when we joined. The three of us were chitchatting in the evening some two weeks into the course.
Chandri: Sneha, why did you get your hair cut to a short bob? You would look so gorgeous with long hair like us.
Sneha: Oh shut up, yaar. You two are spending all the time and water in the campus to wash your hair. Look at me. So cool and easy. I like it this way very much.
Rukmini: That does not answer Chandri’s question. Why did you cut your hair short?
Sneha: Simple. I like it this way. By the by, I have to search for a beauty parlour to get my hair cut once a month.
Chandri: Did your parents agree to your having short hair?
Sneha: Not easily, since they are pretty traditional. I had a big fight with them on cutting my hair short. Finally, they gave in and allowed me to keep a bob cut. I am having this for the past two years.
Rukmini: I doubt whether there is any beauty parlour around here. Why don’t you get a nice boy cut or a crew cut like NCC boys? It will feel and look superb on you. A barbershop would be good enough for that and also quite cheap. Or…. even better would be to shave off the whole thing in Tirumala and THEN keep a boy cut (Rukku gave a mischievous giggle).
Sneha: (glowering at Rukmini) Are you mad or what? What will others say if I become a ‘takli’ (meaning ‘baldy’)?
Rukmini: Who will say what? They may laugh at you for a few days and call you ‘mottai’, ‘baldy’, ‘skinhead’, etc. Why should you care? Anyway, in two weeks’ time, I am going to Tirumala for a family head shave. You also come along and get your head also shaved smooth. It will be a nice experience. After some hair grows, we two can together go to barbershop and get identical crew cuts. (Rukku giggled some more).
Hearing that Rukmini was becoming a baldy in two weeks’ time, I and Sneha looked at her agape. After we recovered from the shock, Rukku explained in detail about their family mottai (head shave) tradition, the beauty and the nice feeling of a mottai head, her love and respect for her elder sis Radhika whose words carry a lot of weight in their family, Radhika’s mischievous yet a no-nonsense approach to issues, etc. Radhika wanted Rukku to keep a crew cut – more to save time in the initial period of her B.Tech. studies and also to discipline the naughty Rukku a bit. Finally, let alone I, even the usually haughty Sneha was also impressed.
Later that evening, Sneha declared that she would also be accompanying Rukku’s family to Tirumala and become a baldy there. Later she would also try a boy cut. She had extracted permission from her parents, who had said a reluctant ‘yes’ for her gundu (head shave) and boy cut. Rukku’s face became bright like a 100 W bulb. She went out and came back after half an hour telling us that her people had happily agreed to take along Sneha to Tirumala. After all, the Tempo Traveller they had hired had 12 seats and Rukku’s family had 8 members in all. Another would make no difference to them.
Two weeks later, Sneha and Rukku returned bald from Tirupati and grinning from ear to ear. Both looked superbly beautiful as baldies. Sneha thanked Rukku for initiating her to ‘gundu’ experience. She was very much impressed with the beauty of a bald mom of Rukku. She dreamed of her own family having a family gundu. But there was zero hope of initiating her parents to family gundu. At least she hoped that she could initiate her future in-laws’ family to it.
A month later, the two went to the barbershop and I also tagged along to get some fun. Both had about half inch hair. The barber made Rukku’s back and sides almost bald to skin to about two inches above her ears with hand operated clippers and trimmed the top hair a little with scissors to get a 10 mm crew cut. The ‘cluk, cluk, cluk’ rhythmic sound of the clippers, the peeling off of hair to leave a bald patch and the smiling face of Rukku told us that she was immensely enjoying it. Finally when she got down, she looked a bit funny, yet superbly beautiful with her clipper crew cut.
Then Sneha occupied the chair. Rukku told the barber to give her a similar cut. So Sneha also got a clipper crew cut similar to what Rukku had got. Neither could stop smiling at their image in the mirror nor caressing their bald back and sides. From then on, the two would go to barbershop together once in a month and get their haircuts renewed. By the time we were in second semester, Sneha reduced her machine area to 1 inch above her ears and got sufficient hair on top to comb it to a nice boy cut. But Rukku continued to keep a 2 inch bald patch on back and sides and half inch crew cut on top. The two gave a damn to those, mostly boys, who teased them. Sneha was really happy with her clippered boy cut – ‘so cool, light, nice to feel, easy to maintain’ she said – and declared that it would be her hairstyle henceforth. She thanked Rukku for the same.
In the four years that we were together in the hostel, we three became very close to each other. All efforts of Rukku and Sneha to make me cut my hair failed and I continued to have my bum long hair. Sneha continued with her monthly machine boy cut. Rukku had her NCC type crew cut till the middle of fourth semester. At the end of 4th semester, her sis Radhika got married. A month later, Radhika went to Palani for her new family’s family mottai. Rukku accompanied her and came back with a smooth dome. She started to grow her hair long from that time.
At Rukku’s instance, each of us learnt to speak the other two’s language – Tamil in the first sem from Rukku, Marathi from Sneha in the second sem and Kannada from me in the third sem. All the three of us anyway knew Hindi quite well. It was Rukku who recognised a Sneha’s leadership qualities. After a serious pep talk from Rukku in early second semester Sneha realised that her selfishness and haughtiness were hindering her blossoming as a leader. She took Rukku’s advice seriously and in about a year she was no longer the old selfish Sneha but became a helpful but gutsy and independent minded girl. In the third year, she became Student Union president also. All of us did very well in academics and got good placements.
We had a tearful farewell at the end of fourth year and proceeded to our employment centres in our home towns. At that time, I continued to have bum long hair, Sneha a nice clipper boy cut while Rukku had mid back hair. Sneha declared that she would keep a clipper boy cut forever with some gundu in between. And… she would take drinks moderately. No amount of dissuading talk from me or Rukku could convince her against it. All that we could do was to request her to be in healthy limits – physical, emotional and financial.
Left to herself, Rukku would have loved to join her employment with a nice mottai head. But since her marriage could be held anytime, her parents told her to do it after marriage. I, for one, had become less shy, less conservative about the hair length (mentally that is) and a lot naughty in intimate conversations with these two friends, thanks to naughty Rukku’s influence. Sneha became lot more naughty due to Rukku’s influence. Retaining her boldness and go-getter approach, she turned out to be a tactful leader who could convince anybody to anything that she desired.